Martha Bawn and Greg Miller survived breast and gastric cancer, respectively, and they want to do their part to bring "a cure to the future," the theme of Johnstown's second annual Relay For Life.

Martha Bawn and Greg Miller survived breast and gastric cancer, respectively, and they want to do their part to bring "a cure to the future," the theme of Johnstown's second annual Relay For Life.

Bawn and Miller will serve as co-honorary chairpersons for the American Cancer Society fundraiser scheduled for June 26-27.

Instead of a 24-hour relay, Johnstown's Relay For Life will last 18 hours. It will begin with the opening ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 26, at the Johnstown-Monroe High School track and continue to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 27.

Bawn, an intervention specialist at Newark's Heritage Middle School, will give a short welcoming speech at the relay.

She said she advocates breast self-examination to women because that's how she discovered her own cancer in 1995.

"I caught it early due to self-examination, two weeks after we got married," said Bawn, who is the wife of Johnstown-Monroe superintendent Damien Bawn.

Bawn had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation treatments.

She said cancer wasn't in her family history, but women from past generations didn't discuss health problems.

"Women today are more aware and have the screenings and testing available to them," she said.

Bawn will participate in Johnstown's relay with her two sisters, Jeanne and Cathy, as well as her daughter, Gena.

"We'll have three generations including my oldest granddaughter who is 7 years old," she added.

Miller has participated in Sunbury's Relay For Life since its inception and he says he is honored to be Johnstown's co-honorary chairperson.

"I always felt that (Relay For Life) was a way that I could help in a small way to give to the American Cancer Society's research efforts to find a cure for this vicious disease," he said. "Never did I dream that one day I would be diagnosed with cancer."

In May of 2008, Miller found out that he had gastric cancer and had to have his whole stomach removed.

For six months, he had three rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation with a continuous drip of chemicals 24 hours a day.

"If we all work together I believe that one day they will find a cure," Miller said.

Miller has a team called "Greg's Gang" that has already pledged $913 to the American Cancer Society.

Relay For Life Event chairperson Mary Wiswell said this year's financial goal is to raise $35,000.

So far, 33 teams, including 232 participants, have pledged $7,204.

"I encourage people to register online," Wiswell said. "I encourage people to go on our Web site and contact any committee member for help.

"We have a lot of new involvement. It's twice the size of last year. We have returning people and almost twice as many are new. People are working toward making it a success."

Teams can register online at relayforlife.org/Johnstown or by contacting Wiswell at 740-967-3323.

A committee meeting for Johnstown's Relay For Life will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, at the Johnstown Village Council chambers. A team captain meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's national signature activity that brings together teams of families and friends from local companies, schools and organizations to walk around a track in relay fashion. All proceeds raised from the event are used for cancer research, education, prevention and patient services. Similarly, the event provides a venue for the promotion and delivery of cancer control activities, including advocacy, prevention and early detection education.

For information about the society or cancer, call toll-free anytime 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the Web site at www.cancer.org.